IPRI Review: Document No. 6
Pakistan-Russia relations have been marred by two historic legacies: first, Pakistan’s over dependence on the Western countries led by the United States, second, Indocentric approach of Pakistan. So far, Pakistan-Russia relationship is a narrative of misperceptions and lost opportunities. There have been many opportunities to improve the relations but were lost due to divergent approaches to regional and global security perceptions by both the countries. Apparently, Russia and Pakistan have left behind the bitterness of the past and are ready to reset, bilateral relationships.
Currently Pakistan and Russia are enjoying working relationship based on mutuality of interest and are also eager to enhance greater bilateral cooperation and convergence of views on various important regional and international issues. Traditionally, Pakistan has been aligned with the US, and India with Russia. Russia and India have historic ties, which are unlikely to break. Likewise, Russia cannot become a substitute of the US for Pakistan because Russia is not in a position to offer it’s required level of aid, trade and defence support.
The main hurdle in the way of Pakistan-Russia relations are Indo-Russian ties. Despite its strategic alliance with the US, India still enjoys very good political, military and diplomatic relations with Russia. India certainly cannot tolerate that its old and time tested partner also becomes a friend of Pakistan. In addition, the US cannot afford that during this critical phase of Afghan War Russia gets closer to Pakistan and offsets the pressures that the US has exerted on Pakistan; exploiting the Russian President’s
putting off of his Pakistan visit in 2012 and yet undertaking a visit to India indicates that Pakistan-Russia relations have a long way to go the reset phase.
Contour of a universal social space in present globalised world is based on the main principle of unity in diversity. Thus, dialogue and partnership of all members of the international community become a necessity for successful and healthy formulation of world order in the contemporary interdependent and interconnected world, where all states could compete in a healthy way while aspiring for mutually beneficial harmony and stability. For decades, Moscow and Islamabad viewed each other as adversaries because of the Cold War imperatives and their impact on South Asia dynamics. This resulted in Russia’s special relations with India and Pakistan’s with the US. However, post Cold War rapid changes at regional level and the entailing geo-strategic compulsions are compelling Islamabad and Moscow to come closer.
The factors that persuade Moscow to have a cordial relation with Pakistan are: •
President Putin’s willingness to adapt Russia's foreign policy to the new geopolitical realities and his intent to purse a multi-vectored approach in South Asia.
Russia is seeking new markets for its military hardware to keep its economy afloat, Pakistan could be a prospective buyer.
Russia is keen to gain Pakistan’s help in controlling its own Muslim insurgents.
Russian Federation is reasserting its role in its immediate sphere of influence and beyond.
Russia wants to checkmate the US influence in its backyard, especially US missile shield deployments and its new found interest in East Asia and Pacific regions.
The factors that sway Pakistan to have an amiable relation with Moscow are: •
Pakistan wants to get out of the American imposed straitjackets.
Pakistan envisages that regional approach to regional issues provides durable results.
US is a roving super power with roving interests; hence it cannot be considered as an all time dependable partner.
Pakistan’s robust relations with Russia would provide a strategic balance in the region vis-à-vis Indo-US rapprochement.
Reset in Pak-Russian...
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